The work of UC3M Business Vladimir Melnyk, and coauthors François A. Carrillat and Valentyna Melnyk, from HEC Montréal and UNSW Business School, has recently been accepted for publication by the Journal of Marketing. The article "The Influence of Social Norms on Consumer Behavior: A Meta-Analysis" investigates how social norms affect consumer behavior across time and cultures. Among the key finding the authors highlight that the effect of social norms on approved behavior appears stable across time and cultures, while their effect on disapproved behavior has grown over time and is stronger in survival and traditional cultures. Furthermore, communications identifying specific organizations or close group members enhance compliance with social norms, as does the presence of monetary costs.
The findings of the paper are relevant for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. In promoting compliance with COVID-19 recommendations, social norms are most effective to prevent the adoption of new behaviors when such behaviors are framed as disapproved or stigmatized by society. The pandemic has resulted in several new behaviors that health experts want to discourage because they are detrimental to society such as reusing the same mask. The good news is that social norms, which consists in communicating what others do (e.g., “2/3 of people avoid reusing the same mask”) or what one should do (e.g., “not reusing the same mask is essential”) are most useful to prevent people from adopting these behaviors.
The Journal of Marketing is a top A+ journal in Marketing, Vladimir's article is the first paper accepted by the journal produced by a researcher affiliated with a Spanish public university.
Link to the paper: